Published 24th April 2019

roles of TEFL teachers

Being a teacher involves not just teaching but taking on a number of roles in the classroom. Think about any teacher who stands out in your memory and it’s either because they were awful at their job, or they made learning really fun. If you’re embarking on a career as a TEFL teacher, be prepared to take on a range of other roles like acting, laughing and joking, entertaining, counselling, and disciplining to name a few. This blog provides four roles of TEFL teachers.

Here are the four roles of TEFL teachers:

1. The Educator

Teaching isn’t all about getting up in front of a class and using the board to explain a concept. Sure, it’s one way to teach, but teaching also requires guiding students towards their own learning and helping to nudge them in the right direction. Allowing your students to think for themselves and giving them motivation and affirmation along the way is helpful to their learning process. They will often require your input and assistance when it comes to more difficult concepts, so as a teacher you are also a valuable resource of information and knowledge that will help them achieve their goals in the EFL classroom.

2. The Disciplinarian

Teaching students from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures can often require you to step in to resolve conflicts and ensure the classroom remains a relaxed learning environment. Unruly or disruptive students need to be dealt with promptly and appropriately so as not to affect the other students.

3. The Entertainer

Learning doesn’t have to be boring and making your lessons engaging and entertaining for your students will help them grasp the language in an interactive and practical way. It’s important to maintain a relaxed atmosphere in the classroom and a light-hearted approach will do this. Your students aren’t expecting you to stand up and tell jokes, but showing humility and a sense of humour will create an environment where students don’t feel threatened or intimidated to ask questions and get involved.

4. The Leader

As the head of the class, the teacher is the leader of the classroom and your students will look to you to take control of any situations and lead discussions. Making sure that activities run as smoothly as possible and ensuring the transitions between activities are easy and uneventful is a skill that not everyone has naturally, but it is one that teachers soon acquire. Allocating partners or organising groupings are part of the dynamics, as well as ensuring the materials you need are available and in working order for your lesson.

Many people think that a TEFL teacher is just someone who can speak English and knows how to teach it. In fact, you may find yourself teaching, disciplining, explaining, discussing and directing the students – all just an average day in the life of a TEFL teacher.